Monday, May 4, 2009

Undisputed II: Last Man Standing

This is not a new movie at all but I enjoyed the original and the nemesis in the movie, or one of them is in the recent glamorous movie Wolverine. Michael Jai White is supposedly the good guy in this movie who plays George Chambers. Well, he did some right things at the end of this movie buy trading some big time money for the release of a man who deserves a second chance and is not a threat to society if he ever was. Russia has a tendency to trashing human rights and tossing people in jail for political reasons. Some reasons could be inexplicable.

Scott Adkins plays Yuri Boyka who is one of the villians in this movie. He is a jerk with an attitude problem, sort of like Chambers is in the beginning. They are made for each other. The problem is that Chambers developes some character as the movie progress whereas Boyka remains the prick he probably always has been. He probably started out a bully but worked hard to become a polished kick boxer. Despite losing the final fight against Chambers, his Russian supporters and financial backers should release and send him to the west to join in the UFC. I am sure they could make more money off of him there rather than having him fight scrubs in prison. But if they can frame and manipulate the system and set up fights with Boyka, perhaps not.

The not so pretty girl in the movie is Daisy Lang who plays Svetlana. Maria Ilieva is the reporter who only had once scene but should have had more.

Chambers is a washed up boxer in the USA, probably heavy middle weight, who is in Russia doing some commercials since he is low on income. His selfish agent is urging him to cooperate so they can make as much money as possible. Chambers is tempermental and does not seem to think about the future much. He is not being asked to do that much, just pronounce some words in Russian properly. His distaste for compromise is striking. When he is set up I really do not feel sorry for him. He is tossed in a decrepid prison which makes a US prison appear like a palace. But the prisoners in Russia in this film are not as intimidating as the prisoners in a US prison.

Chambers is set up with cocaine being found in his hotel room. His agent is not really helping him since he wants a large pay day as well. Chamber's agent is not being truthful when he meets with Chambers in prison and informs him he has not called his lawyer yet and the US embassy is doing their best but it may take longer than a month.

Boyka and Chambers are being arranged to fight. Boyka has been asking for some real competition for a while now but this is not really shown. He is mopping up everyone else the Russia establishment puts in the ring with him. It is a field day. Chambers does not want to fight Boyka, not in the ring but he is told he must if he wants his freedom back.

To say Boyka is consumed with his own ego is like saying Will Smith likes to make solid movies. Boyka thinks he is the next evolution in the long line of outstanding human fighters. The Egyptions, Greeks, American boxers, and then Boyka. That is his line of thinking. I am not sure why he does not eat better since he has reached star status in the prison. But I never saw him shoveling human waste like they made Chambers do. I did not see Boyka being screamed at or harangued for perhaps putting some warmer clothes on Chambers when being tied up outside in the freezing cold. This was after the first fight when Chambers was demanding his freedom and the warden would not grant it even though they had an arrangement. Chambers destroyed him with one punch. Put his face in some food or what passes for food in that prison.

Boyka won the first fight because Chambers was drugged. Chambers dominated the first round since Boyka decided only to box and not to kick. He changed this strategy in the second round but that was after Chambers was drugged. They drugged Chambers by mixing sleeping drugs inside his water bottle. Boyka was not happy with this the next day when he realized this was the case. He killed one of the culprits. Chamber's corner man committed suicide over this guilt.

Chambers wins the final fight, buying the freedom of his coach. His coach is crippled due to Russian prison gunfire. This old man coach trains Chambers in the art of grappling and close knit fighting. Which is essential in his victory. Chambers is released from prison as promised in a nice suit and farewell.

Chambers is elated at the end and seems to have a character awakening. He becomes a better person. But this movie finishes incomplete. Where did his agent go? Chambers finds out that his agent is in on this deal, his set up, and him being blackmailed to fight. Chambers threatens to destroy him. The writers failed to put a final revenge scene at the end. His agent deserves to get punched a few times. Regardless of Chambers new found conscious and human understanding, his agent should not be left off the hook. Atleast destroy his reputation in the industry.

The movie had very little decent music, not enough pretty girls. The script was devoid of any humor. The acting was typical. Boyka's round house kicks were impressive and I am not sure if they were camera tricks since they were so fast and lethal. There was not a hero in this movie, atleast not in the first half. Chambers was too violent and emotional to cheer for, unreasonable as well. The final fight between the American and Russian was not that intense. A rain drop compared to the action packed fight between Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago in the climactic and enduring Rocky IV.

I allocate this movie one star.*

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